We all tell stories. All the time. To make sense of the stimuli created by our senses, the brain creates narrative. “Minds seeks patterns,” David Eagleman
, a neuroscientist, says in his often troubling book, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. What makes it disturbing is that Eagleman is not a philosopher or a psychologist; he’s a scientist working with what the brain actually does. Through tests, through imaging, neuroscientists like Eagleman can see what part of the brain lights up when certain stimuli comes in or certain tasks are performed. Consciousness, as he points out, actually plays a very small part in the brain’s overall functioning.
We make up the stories in order to make sense of the world around us. We crave stories to explain the apparent chaos we find ourselves in. When my late wife, Kimberly Yale, was dying from breast cancer, I could take